Russia said on Saturday it expected commodity flows with China to grow and trade with Beijing to reach $200 billion by 2024, as Moscow faces mounting isolation from the West.
China has refused to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine and has criticized the unprecedented Western sanctions on Moscow. The two countries have bolstered ties in recent years, including announcing a “no limits” partnership in February.
“We are focused on achieving the goal set by the heads of state to bring bilateral trade turnover to $200 billion by 2024,” Georgiy Zinoviev, head of the Russian foreign ministry’s first Asia department, told the Interfax news agency.
“Moreover, we suggest that reaching this ambitious figure earlier than planned is quite possible.”
With Russian trade buffeted by sanctions, Zinoviev said time was needed to adapt. He said China’s struggle with COVID-19 in recent weeks was also a factor that could complicate efforts.
“Chinese business remains interested in expanding its presence in Russia, for whom additional opportunities are opening up given the departure of some Western companies,” Zinoviev said.
He acknowledged the risk of secondary action that Chinese companies could face if they help Russia circumvent sanctions, but said that a significant increase in cooperation was likely nonetheless.
“It is clear that in the current situation many Chinese economic operators have to exercise caution, given the likelihood of secondary sanctions,” said Zinoviev.
“I am convinced our partners and us will be able to use the current situation to our common interests and fully unlock the potential for a significant increase in cooperation in all areas.”
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Alex Richardson, Tom Balmforth and Mike Harrison)